Halloween has come and gone. The skeletons, jack-o-lanterns and monsters have piled into their cars to head back to Halloween Town until next year.
Though it’s always a bit sad to see the spooky season come and go now the holiday season kicks into high gear. If you thought everything was pumpkin themed before you’ll be shocked as Thanksgiving food and decor are now up in full force.
My mother, Melanie, has a habit of decorating her home prematurely. When I was younger my job was to assemble our Christmas tree and hang the ornaments on it. I can remember putting up our large faux tree even before Thanksgiving, to which my little mind thought “this is too early.”
I vaguely remember throwing a fit when I was little about decorating the tree to which my mother probably gave me her infamous stern look causing me to shut my mouth and go back to decorating.
I love to give her a hard time about decorations. Her knack for decorating sooner than I think she should is something I love about her. My parents, both biological and step, are very near and dear to my heart.
Thanksgiving and Christmas 2019 will mark big milestones in my life. This holiday season will be the first with my sweet Mawmaw in heaven. While I miss her, I know she’s happy with Jesus and my Pawpaw. This leads me to reflect on my fond memories of childhood.
In my very large and loud Italian family, the children were given their own table to eat at. This table was in a separate room from the adults entirely so you can only imagine the fun that was had.
I can remember my parents helping me load up my plate with food on Thanksgiving then hurrying to the television room to make sure I got a seat amongst my siblings and cousins. As I’ve stated before, I am both the youngest sibling and the youngest grandchild, meaning I am the baby of our family.
Christmases at my Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s house were unbelievable. The living room of the historic coal house was large but looked miniscule once it was filled with presents. My grandparents went all out and spared no expense for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
When I saw the room it was filled with presents, and I mean quite literally the room was filled with presents. There was little to no walking or sitting room.
In the sea of neatly-wrapped presents sat the matriarch and patriarch of the Coppola family, smiling at the family they created.
Every year cousins and their parents would assume their locations and collect all of their gifts. It wasn’t until everyone had received theirs that we could open them and let me just tell you that this anticipation was intense.
After opening all our presents they were situated in the biggest bags we could find and taken to everyone’s vehicles. Like Santa Claus, my dad would sling the large sack over his shoulder and deposit it into our car. After squeezing my Mawmaw in a hug my parents would take me to the car to which I would fall asleep on the drive home from McDowell County.
Looking back I wish I would’ve stopped and taken a second to take it all in. The smells of everyone’s fancy colognes and perfumes, the warm food that was cooked by my Mawmaw and aunts, the sparkling lights of my Mawmaw’s cherished fiber optic decorations and the laughs of my family members.
I’d give anything in the world to have my whole family assembled again without a care in the world just as happy and simple as childhood was. Now as an adult I always remind myself that time changes things and I need to cherish every moment of life and love I get.
This life is too short to hold on to negative feelings and to push people we love away. If you let strife keep you away from your family members there will come a day when you regret it and there will be no time left to mend it.
I’ve written before about cherishing those you love but as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, I want to reiterate this.
Call that family member you haven’t called in a while. Sit down to coffee with that person you fought with. Give apologies and accept apologies.
Above all, get ready for the holidays, and maybe help your family members decorate. If you need me I’ll probably be helping my mom hang Christmas lights, even though it’s too early.
Emily D. Coppola is a reporter for the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at email@example.com Follow her at @BDTCoppola